This numbers-chasing from iBasso leads to a new-found transparency in your music playback. The technical basis upon which the idea of DX260 was founded was to operate its sheer number of DACs in as flexible and independent a way each. Each DAC answers to iBasso's veritable puppet master – the FPGA-Master 2 aboard.
iBasso's treat each of the 8 CS43198s as individual entities, and operates them at very specific moments in the time domain. Ordinarily that might spell chaos, but it's iBasso's FPGA-Master 2 that grants a firm grip of how each Cirrus Logic outputs in the time and frequency domain.
The result of the entirety of 8 DACs outputting at phased intervals leads to a coherent, continuous waveform with finer stairsteps in time. That captures more detail in your music and reduces errors, decoding your music back more accurately to the original waveform.
Throughout, FPGA-Master 2 keeps an iron grip on proceedings as the CS43198s work in synchronous mode, counting on iBasso's FPGA-generated I2S to work in the exact manner intended.
Superior to the switched-capacitor output stage on Asahi Kasei Microdevices voltage DAC counterparts, the Class H analog outputs of CS43198s are accurate before being fed into DX260's low-pass voltage summing gain stage that smooths the audio wave removing ultrasonic artifacts further.
After the differential decoding, iBasso's generous use of negative feedback quashes distortion and claims up to 134dB of signal-to-noise ratio.
The employment of this feedback also sees DX260 achieve massive bandwidth that's effectively flat 10Hz to 75Khz.
That means phase reproduction in the audible human hearing region is stellar, for realistic portrayal of dynamics and natural transparency – a triumph of iBasso's new mid-line player.
Powerful op-amp output buffers supply current and mean iBasso's wonderkid promises high damping factor while maintaining its low distortion into low impedances typical of IEMs, Focals, Fostexs and Rosson Audio Designs.
Still the closed-loop internal gain remaining after the application of negative feedback around DX260's op-amp IC analog circuit remains high.
So where she really shines is in swinging voltage, opening up the sound of any high-impedance Audio-Technica, Sennheiser and ZMF Headphones while barely breaking sweat.
And DX260's future-proof Android 11 software will mean Google Play Store app support of Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music for years to come, backed by a Snapdragon 660 SOC processor and 4GB of RAM.
Certainly, iBasso's FPGA-Master 2 wonderkind might be all the DAP you need. Till you step up to what dual battery power supplies, current-output DACs and a discrete output stage can do for you in DX320.
Explore the rest of iBasso's range here, or view our other music players here.
DAC 8 x Cirrus Logic CS43198